The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe has approved the use of the single-dose Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in Zimbabwe.
The vaccine becomes the fifth to be approved for use in the country after the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac, the Russian Sputnik V and the Indian Covaxin.
MCAZ spokesperson Mr Shingirai Gwatidzo said the emergency use authorisation issued to the Ministry of Health and Child Care was subject to a number of considerations including ensuring an adequate cold storage capacity.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine needs to be stored in a freezer at -25 degrees celcius to -15 degrees celcius but once removed from the freezer, it requires refrigeration at +2 degrees celcius to +8 degrees celcius.
Zimbabwe however, has no capacity to store the vaccines in the freezer as the available cold chain allows for storage at between 2degrees and 8 degrees celcius.
"MCAZ reviewed the technical documentation and clinical studies conducted and issued Emergency Use Authorisation for Ministry of Health and Child Care to consider adding to the vaccines for use in Zimbabwe.
"This EUA is subject to a number of considerations which include ensuring there is adequate cold storage capacity to store the vaccines and also ensuring there is robust side effect monitoring in place to monitor for potential side effects," said Mr Gwatidzo.
He said the Ministry of Health would then decide whether to deploy the vaccines in Zimbabwe or not.
"Our responsibility is to ensure that we conduct the risk-benefit analysis prior to issuance of the EUA," he said.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is also being used in the South African inoculation drive.
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